Abstract: Over 200 sediment samples taken from ten holes drilled in the Galapagos Hydrothermal Mounds Field during D.S.D.P. Leg 70 have been analysed for twenty-one elements. The three main sediment lithologies recognized are siliceous carbonate ooze, Mn-oxide crust, and an Fe-rich silicate (nontronite), the latter two being of hydrothermal origin. The major element composition of the hydrothermal deposits is similar in each mound hole, suggesting that formation conditions and hydrothermal solution composition have been constant both geographically and with time. The large variations which occur in the concentration of some trace elements in the Mn-oxide crusts and in transition metal ratios in the nontronite compared with the pelagic ooze suggests a hydrothermal supply to the mounds of Li, Mo, Pb, and Ba in addition to Mn, Fe, and silica.
The data are compatible with suggestions that the nontronite formed at depth in the pelagic sediment blanket by replacement of biogenic ooze, whilst the Mn crusts formed at or near the sediment-water interface. Pelagic sediments in the mounds which have not been replaced are similar in composition to pelagic sediments from non-mounds holes.